PORTLAND, OR — This week’s record-breaking heat wave is finally behind us, but the risk of wildfire isn’t. This is not the time to become complacent about the danger of sparking a human-caused fire, Forest Service fire officials warn.
“People ask all the time how they can help firefighters. One of the biggest ways is to help prevent the start of fires,” said Alex Robertson, Director of Fire, Fuels and Aviation for the Pacific Northwest Region and Alaska.
Weather experts forecast an elevated risk of severe fire throughout all of Oregon and in eastern Washington through this weekend.
Land managers base decisions regarding public use restrictions and seasonal burn bans on current conditions. Fire departments, county sheriff’s departments, and regional dispatch centers may be good sources to check for information about the current level of fire risk and current restrictions in their area. On National Forests in Washington and Oregon, public use restrictions are posted to the forest’s website.
Explosives and pyrotechnic devices, including fireworks and explosive targets, are prohibited on National Forests in Oregon and Washington at all times. Violators who bring fireworks onto national forests and grasslands can be fined up to $5,000 and sentenced with up to six months in jail (36 CFR 261.52). Anyone who starts a wildfire can be held liable by the government for suppression costs, and may be subject to civil liability for private property damage.
Fire knows no boundaries – so it’s important for community members and forest visitors to respect burn bans and other safety-related fire and public use restrictions for both public and privately-owned lands, and to familiarize themselves with fire prevention practices, Robertson said.
“We’ll never know the name of the fire we didn’t start. Small steps make a big difference,” he said.
Find recreation area updates on following websites:
Willamette National Forest Alerts & Notices: https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/willamette/alerts-notices
Mt. Hood National Forest Notices: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mthood/fire/?cid=fseprd835619
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Updates: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/crgnsa/recarea/?recid=30026
Central Oregon Fire Alerts: centraloregonfire.org
For more information, visit the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/r6
Above, A stop-motion video public service announcement inviting the public to enjoy nature's show on National Forests this Independence Day - and leave fireworks at home. The video was produced by Lily Carey, a field ranger on the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. (U.S. Forest Service)